Legal Update
At a glance: How will the general election impact employment law?
24 June 2024

At a glance: How will the general election impact employment law?

We now have the key party manifestos, with varying priority given to proposals on employment law reform and detail to prepare employers. Regardless of which party gains power from 4th July, there are likely to be plenty of changes to look out for.


Emphasising that it is time for change, in May 2024 the Labour Party published ‘Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay: Delivering a New Deal for Working People’, promising new legislation within 100 days of entering government.[1]

The most significant proposed reforms are:

  • Extend the current time limit for raising a claim from three to six months for all claims
  • Ensure the minimum wage is a real living wage, removing age bands and ensuring the Single Enforcement Body and HMRC can enforce non-compliance
  • Strengthen statutory sick pay, removing the lower earnings limit
  • End “one-sided flexibility” by banning ‘zero-hour’ contracts, introducing rights to regular hours based on hours worked on a 12-week reference period
  • Ending ‘fire and rehire’ practices by reforming the law to provide effective remedies against abuse
  • Increase day 1 employment rights for all workers, including protection against unfair dismissal, parental leave and sick pay
  • Create a single status of a worker and a simpler two-part framework for employment status
  • Strengthen redundancy rights and protections and those for workers subject to TUPE processes
  • Strengthen protection for whistleblowers, including by updating protection for women who report sexual harassment at work
  • Strengthen rights and protections for self-employed people
  • Have a baseline set of family-friendly rights including flexible working and parental rights
  • Make it unlawful to dismiss a woman who is pregnant for six months after her return, except in specific circumstances
  • Review the new legislation for unpaid carers’ leave which was introduced in April 2024 and examine the benefits of introducing paid carers’ leave
  • Introduce the right to bereavement leave for all workers
  • Bring in the ‘right to switch off’ – following similar models for working from home as are in place in Ireland and Belgium
  • Regulate AI, introducing surveillance technologies at a minimum to consult with trade unions or elected staff representatives
  • Implement the ability of employees to lodge collective grievances through ACAS
  • Introduce Fair Pay Agreements and repeal many anti-strike laws.


Devoid of a specific section for employment law in the Conservative Party Manifesto, there are a few relevant proposals for new areas of reform:[2]

  • A bid to protect female-only spaces and competitiveness in sport by changing the definition of  ‘sex’ in The Equality Act 2010 to ‘biological sex’
  • Cut employees’ national insurance to 6% by April 2027
  • Limit the impact of industrial action by implementing Minimum Service Levels legislation
  • Overhaul the ‘fit note’ process by moving the responsibility from GPs towards specialist work and health professionals
  • Abolish national insurance for self-employed people entirely
  • Retain the two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal
  • Reintroduce tribunal fees
  • Cap the duration of non-compete clauses in employment contracts
  • Implement the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023
  • Restrict transfer rights under TUPE to employees only.

Liberal Democrats

In the Liberal Democrats Manifesto ‘For a Fair Deal’, they promise to modernise employment rights to make them fit for the age of the ‘gig economy’, including:[3]

  • Introduce ‘Adjustment Passports’ to record the adjustments, modifications and equipment disabled people have received, and ensure that Access to Work support and equipment stays with the person if they change job
  • Increase the minimum wage for people on zero-hour contracts by 20%
  • A right to request a fixed-hours contract after 12 months for ‘zero-hour’ and agency workers
  • Shift the burden of proof in employment tribunals regarding employment status from individual to employer
  • Establish a new ‘dependent contractor’ employment status in between employment and self-employment – with entitlement to basic rights like sick pay, holiday entitlement and minimum earnings levels
  • Make parental leave and pay, day-one rights
  • Introduce a new protected characteristic of ‘caring’ under the Equality Act
  • Require large employers to monitor and publish data on gender, ethnicity, disability, and LGBT+ employment levels, pay gaps and progression and publish five-year aspirational diversity targets
  • Extend the use of name-blind recruitment processes
  • Introduce SSP from day one
  • Remove the lower earnings limit

to name a few…

Reform UK

Marketed as a ‘Contract’ rather than a party manifesto, Reform UK have set out their proposals for the first 100 days following the general election and thereafter.[4] Despite various economic and benefits reforms, there are very few notable employment law proposals and each is broad and lacking in detail:

  • Replace the Equality Act 2010
  • Scrap EU Regulations
  • Scrap thousands of laws that hold back British business and damage productivity, including employment laws that make it riskier to hire people
  • Abolish IR35.

Green Party

In a pledge for ‘Real Hope. Real Change’, the Green Party have pledged a number of significant employment reforms:[5]

  • Pay-gap protections to be extended to all protected characteristics
  • Repeal “anti-union” legislation and replace it with a Charter of Workers’ Rights – including a legal obligation for employers to recognise trade unions
  • £15 per hour national minimum wage for all ages, offsetting costs to small businesses by increasing the Employment Allowance to £10,000
  • Four-day working week
  • Day one rights for all – including those on ‘zero-hour’ contracts and working in the ‘gig economy’
  • Fund the enforcement of rights
  • Maximum 10:1 pay ratios for all private and public-sector organisations
  • Equal pay audits for all large and medium-sized companies
  • Campaign for safe sick pay.

Although details of the practicality of proposals are absent from the manifestos at this stage, we now have a flavour of what the future of employment law could look like. Current polls suggest Labour will form our new government. Labour’s proposals set out an ambitious agenda to implement significant change at great speed. If Labour manages to achieve its objectives, particularly with respect to the extension of time limits to present a claim and the introduction of day-one rights, this is likely to place even greater pressure on the Employment Tribunal backlog. Whether this is matched by funding for the tribunal system remains to be seen…

[1] Labour Party Employment Law Plan

[2] Conservative Party Manifesto

[3] Liberal Democrats Manifesto

[4]Reform's 'Contract with you'

[5] Green Party Manifesto